DDN Magazine March 2023 DDN March_2023 | Page 8


Alongside last month ’ s welcome confirmation of treatment funding until 2025 , the government also announced more than £ 50m to provide targeted housing support for people in treatment and recovery – the first time this has happened as part of a national drug strategy . DDN hears from OHID ’ s Rosanna O ’ Connor about the grant ’ s aims and ambitions


L ast month saw the sector breathe a collective sigh of relief when the government confirmed its allocation of treatment funding for the next two years – more than £ 154m for 2023-24 , followed by indicative funding of almost £ 267m for 2024-25 . The announcement provided certainty and allowed the field to properly plan for the future , said Turning Point ’ s chief operating officer Clare Taylor ,

one of many leading figures in the sector to publicly welcome it ( www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / government-confirms-421mtreatment-funding-for-next-twoyears ).
PRIORITIES The new funding would prioritise the areas with the greatest need , the government said , and enhance both treatment capacity and quality . As well as providing more residential rehab and
‘ Providing floating support into a range of accommodation settings is a core part of the housing support grant . We ’ re funding interventions based on the need in local areas .’
inpatient detox places , it will also address the sector ’ s staffing crisis . All of this is , of course , sorely needed . But last month also saw a separate announcement of up to £ 53m to improve housing support for people in treatment and recovery ( www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / government-pledges-housingsupport-cash-for-areas-most-inneed ).
According to the latest OHID figures , a sixth of all people entering treatment – and a third of those entering treatment for opiates – reported having a housing problem ( www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / number-of- people-in-alcohol-treatment-up-by- 10-per-cent ), and according to Crisis two thirds of people experiencing homelessness cite substance use as a reason for becoming homeless in the first place .
HOUSING FIRST Everyone now agrees that good quality , stable and affordable housing is a crucial part of ensuring successful recovery , but is it something that ’ s perhaps been overlooked in the past ? ‘ Although the importance of housing in supporting recovery has been emphasised in previous national drug strategies , this is the first strategy where funding has been secured to help us
understand what works ,’ Rosanna O ’ Connor , director of addictions and inclusion at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities ( OHID ), tells DDN .
The funding will be allocated to 28 local authorities across England with the greatest need , and as well as allowing local areas to set up schemes tailored to their local populations it will also be monitored to help develop an evidence base .
Among the approaches chosen are specialist housing caseworkers operating from prevention hubs in Manchester , people with lived experience helping those struggling to maintain independent living in Wigan , and cross-department training to create joined-up care for people experiencing homelessness in Lancashire . Why was this chosen ?
‘ OHID worked closely with the Department for Levelling Up , Housing and Communities to design a menu of housing support interventions that we thought could have the greatest impact on the housing needs of people in treatment and recovery ,’ says O ’ Connor . Eligible local authorities were then asked to submit funding plans based on this , but with the flexibility to propose their own interventions .
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